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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  March 6, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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by taking a few questions, which are sure will not be nature. but before i do, i want to make a few announcements about the steps we're taking to help responsible homeowners who've been struggling to this housing crisis. we clearly have seen some positive economic news over the last few months with businesses have created about 3.7 million new jobs over the last two years. manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s. the auto industry is back and hiring more than 200,000 people over the last two years. confidence is up in the economy is getting stronger. but there are still millions of americans who can't find a job. there are millions more who are having a tough time making the rent for the mortgage, paying
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for gas or groceries. so our job in washington isn't to sit back and do nothing and certainly not to stand in the way of their recovery. right now we have to do everything we can to speed it up. congress did the right thing when they pass part of the jobs plan anchorman at the talks on trade tax i can and that was a good first step. but it's not enough. you can't just stop here and wait for the next election to come around. very few things they can do right now that could make a real difference in people's lives. this congress should once and for all and tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and use the money to work companies here in the united states. i put forward a proposal that does just that there's a reason why congress can't come together together and start back in. the congress could hold a vote on the trans-pecos we don't have billionaires paint plus tax
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undersecretaries. the majority of americans believe his comments sent there for serious about paying down our dataset, if it's as good a place to start as any. and finally, this congress should pass my proposal to give better responsible homeowner a chance to save an average of $3000 a year by refinancing their mortgage at historically low rates. no red tape, no runaround from the banks. if you've been on time and your payments. each of the right thing and acted responsibly, you should have a chance to say that honey on your home. perhaps to build up your equity or just have more money in your pocket that you can spend on this misses in your community. that would make a huge difference for millions of american families. now, if congress refuses to act, i have said and i'll continue to do everything in my power to act without them. i thought we announced an initiative that allows millions
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of responsible homeowners to refinance at low interest rates. today we are taking it a step further. we are cutting by more than half the refinancing fees that families pay for loans insured by the federal housing administration. that is going to see the typical family in that situation an extra thousand dollars a year on top of the savings that the dose to receive her refinancing. that would make refinance even more attractive to more families, sort of like another tax cut will put more money in people's pockets. we will do this on her own. but on a congressional authorization to do it. but are also taking a series of steps to help homeowners who have served our country. it is unconscionable that members of our armed forces and their families have been some of those who have been most susceptible to losing their homes due to the actions of unscrupulous things and mortgage lenders. over the last years that happened a lot. so as part of the landmark
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settlement, we reach for some of the nation's largest a few weeks ago, here is what we're going to do. if you're a member of the armed forces whose home was wrongfully foreclosed, you will be substantially compensated for what the bank did to you and your family. if you're a member of the armed forces with a high interest rate who was wrongfully denied the chance to lower the volume or inactive service, which banks are required to do by law, the banks will refund you the money would've saved along with a significant penalty. the settlement will make sure that you are forced into foreclosure just because you have a permanent change of station but can't sell your home because you own more than it's worth. some of the money will go into a fund that karen teased on unfavorable terms to our veterans and they will be more foreclosure sections for every man and woman who is currently serving this country in harm's way. like i said before, no amount of
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money is going to be enough to make a right for a family who has had their peace with the american dream taken away from them and no action, no matter how meaningful will entirely deal our housing market on its own. this is not something the government by itself can solve. but i'm not one of those people who believes we should just set by and wait for the housing market to hit bottom. there are real things we can do right now it would make a substantial difference in the lives of innocent, responsible homeowners. that's true of housing and that is true in any number of different areas when it comes to ensuring this recovery touches as many lives as possible. that is going >> top priority as long as they hold this office and i will do everything that i can to make that progress. so that'll take some questions and i will start with mike mckay are.
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>> on the middle east and as it relates to american politics, less than a year ago moammar gadhafi said he was going to send his forces to benghazi and bring them from their bedrooms and shoot them. it was a no-fly zone in military action against libya appeared in syria, bashar al assad is killing people. there's a massacre underway to your critics in the united states, including john mccain said to start airstrikes now and on iran, mitt romney on sunday went so far as to say that if you are real estate, i ran with it a bomb in the world will change. how do you respond to those critics? >> a couple of questions they are, so let's start with the iran situation since that's been a topic in the news for the last few days. when i came into office, iran was unified on the move, had made substantial progress in the world was divided. but we've been able to do at the
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past three years is mobilize unprecedented crippling advantages on iraq. iran is feeling the bite of the sanctions in a substantial way. the world is unified. iran is politically isolated. and what i have said is that we will not countenance iran getting a nuclear weapon. my policy is not containment. that policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon because it they get a nuclear weapon that could trigger the arms race that would undermine our non-proliferation goals. you can substantially fall in the hands of a terrorist within a close consultation with all of our allies including israel and moving the strategy forward. at this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can be resolved diplomatically. that is not just my view. that is that the overt our top intelligence officials.
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it is the view of top israeli intelligence officials. and as a consequence, we are going to continue to apply to pressure her, even we provide a door for the reading machine to walk through what they can rejoin the community of nations by giving sanctions the international community meeting their obligations and not pursuing any nuclear weapons. that is my track record. now, what is that on the campaign trail, you know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. they are not commander-in-chief. and when i see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, i am reminded of the cost involved in more. i'm reminded the decision that i have to make in terms of sending our young men and women in battle.
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and the impact that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy. this is not a game. there's nothing casual about it. and you know, when i see some of these folks who have applauded luster and a lot of big, but when you actually asked them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years. it indicates to me that is more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem. now, the one thing that we have not done is we haven't launched a to work. if some of these folks think that it is time to launch a war, they should say so and they should explain to the american people exactly why they should do that and what the consequences should be. everything else is just talk. with respect to syria, what is
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happening in syria is heartbreaking and outrageous that bush is seen at the international community mobilized against the assad regime. it is not a question of when a solid leads or a façade leaves. it is a question of when. the actions he is not taken against his own people is inexcusable in the world community has said so in a more or less unified voice. on the other hand, for us to take military action, unilaterally as some have suggested or to think that somehow there is some simple solution i think is a mistake. what happened in libya was we mobilize the international community at a u.n. security
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council mandate had the full cooperation of the region. states and we knew that we could execute very effectively in a relatively short period of time. this is a for a complicated situation. so what we have done is to work with key arab states, key international partners. hillary clinton was in tunisia to come together and to mobilize and plan how do we support the opposition, had we provide humanitarian assistance, had we continued the political isolation, had we continued economic isolation. then we are going to continue to work on this project with other countries. it is my belief that ultimately this dictator will fall as dictators in the past have fallen. but the notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our
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military. you know, that hasn't been true in the past and it will be true now. we've got to think through what we do, through the lens of what is going to be effective, but also it is critical for u.s. security interests. jake tapper. >> thank you, mr. president. but can of assurances did you give prime minister up to a the role the u.s. would play if diplomacy and economic sanctions fail to work and convince iran's leaders to change their behavior and israel goes and prepares to strike the facility? what kind of assurances did you tell him and should we -- i recognize the differences, but should we be having in this country a vigorous debate about what could happen in the case of the middle east war and away the fact that we did not do before going into iraq?
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>> well, i think there is no doubt that those who are suggesting are proposing are beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the american people what they think the costs and benefits would be. i am not one of those people because what i have said is that we have a window through which we can resolve this issue peacefully. we have put forward an international framework that is applying unprecedented pressure. the iranians just stated they are willing to return to the negotiating table and we have the opportunity as we maintain that pressure to see how it plays out. i'm not going to go into detail with my conversation with prime minister netanyahu. what i said publicly doesn't differ from what i said privately. they have to decide how to best preserve its sovereignty. i am deeply mindful of the
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historical precedents that way on any prime minister of israel when they think about the potential threats to israel and the jewish romance. what i have also said is that because sanctions are starting to have significant effects inside of iran and that is not just my assessment. that is the uniform access to come in because the sanctions will be even tougher in the coming months, because they are now starting to affect the oil industry, their central bank and because we are now seeing noises about then returning to the negotiating table comment that is deeply in everybody's interest. the united states, israel and the world to see if this can be resolved in a peaceful fashion. and so, this notion that somehow we have a choice to make in the
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next week or two weeks or month or two months is not borne out by the facts. and the argument that we have made to the israelis is that we have made an unprecedented commitment to their security. there is not breakable bond between our two countries, but one of the functions of friends to make sure we provide honest and unvarnished advice in terms of what is the best approach to achieve a common goal, particularly one in which we have at stake. this is not just an issue of israeli interests. this is an issue of u.s. interests. if also not just mr. consequences for israel if action is taken prematurely. they are consequences to the united states as well. and so, i do think that any time we consider military action that the american people understand,
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there's going to be a price to pay. sometimes it is necessary, but we don't do it casually. when i visit walter reid, when i find matters to families whose loved ones had not come home, i am reminded that there is a cost. sometimes the bear that cost, but we think it through. we don't play politics with it. what we have in the past, when we had added through and it gets wrapped up in politics, we make mistakes. and typically it is not the folks who are popping off to pay the price. it is these incredible men and women in uniform and their families to pay the price. and as a consequence, i think it is very important for us to take a careful, thoughtful, sober
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approach to what is a real problem and that's a living doing of the last two years and that is what i intend to keep doing. >> you might not be beating the work, but we've got israel's back. what does that mean? >> what it means is historically we have always cooperated with israel with respect to the defense of israel. just like we do a full range of other allies, just like we do with great britain, just like we do with japan. i'm not broad statement i think is confirmed when you look at what we've done over the last three years on things like iron dome that prevents vessels from bringing down their small towns along the border regions of israel, that potentially land on schools for children or families. and we are going to continue to unprecedented security commitment. it was not a military.trim that
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we were laying out for any particular military action. it was a restatement of our consistent position that the security of israel is something i keep we care about and that the deeds of my administration over the last three years perms how deeply we care about it. that is a commitment we have made. jackie. we're a jackie? there you are. >> with the news this morning that the u.s. and its allies are returning to the table and taking up iran's offer to talk again more than a year after the tax perk up in frustration, is this iran's last chance to negotiate into this nuclear question? and you said three years ago in a similar one on one reading with prime minister netanyahu at
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the time for tax coming to the end of 2009 do with the considering whether iran was negotiating in this state. you said at that time that we are not going to have tax forever. so here we are nearly three years later. is this? and did you think you either three years after the first talk? >> you know, there is no doubt that over the last three years, when iran has engaged in negotiations, there has been hemming and high installing and avoiding the issues in ways that the international community has concluded we are not serious. and my expectations, given the consequences of inaction for non-, the severe sanctions now been applied, the huge toll it
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is taking on their economy, and the degree of isolation they feel right now, which is unprecedented, they understand that the world community means business. to resolve this issue will require iran to come to the table and discussed in a clear and forthright way how to prove to the international community that the intentions of their nuclear program are peaceful. they know how to do that. this is not a mystery. and so it's going to be very important to make sure that on an issue like this, their complexities. it obviously has to be methodical. i don't expect a breakthrough in the first meeting, but i think we'll have a pretty good sense fairly quickly as to how serious
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they are about resolving the issue. and there are steps that they can take that would send a signal to the international community and that are verifiable, that would allow them to be in compliance with international norms in compliance with international mandate, abiding by the not alliteration treaty and provide the world and assurance that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. they know how to do it and the question is going to be whether in these discussions they showed themselves moving clearly in that direction. >> ed henry. >> thank you very much. i want to make iran because you said you have a bill backed. so i wonder why three years in office who have not visited this is president. and related to iran and israel, you have expressed concern about this new.abort driving up gas
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prices. your critics within capitol hill you a gas prices to go higher because you said before that will mean the american people fall fossil fuels and renewable fuels. how do you respond to this? >> from a political perspective do you think there's anyone here who thinks that makes a lot of sense? here's the bottom line with respect to gas prices. i want gas prices lowered because they hurt families. because i meet folks every day who have tried gallantly to get to work and then filling up the gas tank gets more and more painful and is taxed out of their pocket books come out of their. and a lot of folks are operating on the margins right now. and it's not good for the overall economy because of gas prices go up, consumer spending
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oftentimes pulls back. and we are in the midstride know of a recovery that is starting to build steam and we don't want to reverse it. what i've also said about gas prices is that there is no silver bullet and the only way we are going to solve this problem over the medium and long-term is within all of the above strategy that says we are going to increase production, which has happened. we are going to make sure that we are conserving energy. that is why we doubled through efficiency standards on cars, which will save consumers $1.7 trillion take about 12 billion barrels of oil coming in now, offline, which will help to reduce prices. we are going to develop clean energy technologies that allow us to continue to use less oil. we've made progress. the good news is 2010, first time in a decade that oil
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imports were below 50% and it kept on going down. and we are going to keep on looking at every strategy we can to reduce the amount of oil that we use while maintaining our living standards and maintaining our productivity and maintaining our economic growth. we are going to do everything we can to make sure that consumers are not hurt by it. there's some short-term steps that we are looking not with respect to, for example, certain potential bottlenecks and refineries around the country that we've been concerned about. we are concerned about what is happening in terms of production around the world, that is not just what is happening in the gulf. you've had, for example, in sudan's oil taken offline thoughts hoping to restrict supply. so we're going to look a whole
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range of measures, including by the way, making sure my attorney general is paying attention to speculation in the oil market. i've asked them to reconstitute the task force did succeed in. do we go through this every year. we've gone through this for 30 years. and if we are going to be competitive and successful and make sure families are protected over the long term, we've got to make sure we've got a set of options that reduce overall dependence on oil. with respect to israel, i am not the first president who has been unable because of all range of issues, not to visit israel as president and their first turn. i visited israel twice a senator, once right before i became president. the measure of my commitment to israel is not measured by a single visit.
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my commitment to israel is seen in the actions but not taken as president of the united states and its indisputable that i've had israel's back over the last three years. >> you believe rush limbaugh's apology is sufficient? and heartfelt? do you agree with the decision of the growing number of foster's that it decided to drop this show? and there's been a couple standards on this issue. liberal commentators have made similarly provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn't been such an outrage. >> you know, i am not going to comment on what sponsors decide to do. i'm not going to comment on either the economics are the politics of it. i don't know what is in rush limbaugh's heart cometh according to comment on the sincerity of his apology. what i can comment on is the
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fact that all decent folks can agree the remarks that were made don't have any place in the public discourse. the reason i call it this fluke is because thought about saab saturn and wondered if it things i want to do them as they get older is engaged in issues they get older, even ones i may not agree with them on. i want and be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. and i don't want them attacked or called horrible names because they are being good citizens.
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and i wanted the senator to know that i thought her parent should be proud of her and we want to send a message to our young people that being part of a democracy involves our country an argument and disagreement and debate and we want you to be engaged and there is a way to do it that doesn't involve you being demeaned and insulted. particularly when you're a private citizen. >> jessica. >> ester present at -- >> jessica. >> thank you, mr. president. house democrats have said the the republicans on this large issuer engaged in a war on women. some top republicans say it is
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more like democrats are engaged in a war for the women spoke. as you talk about talk of war in other arenas, as women are great concerns about women coming to agree with the chair democratic national committee that there is a war on women? >> here's what i think. women are going to make up their own minds of the selection about who is advancing the issues that they care most deeply about. one of the things i've learned being married to michelle is i don't need to tell her what she thinks is important. ..
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and i believe that when democrats have a better story to tell. to the women about how we are going to solidify the middle class and grow this economy, make sure everybody has a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, and we've got a fair set of rules that everybody has to follow. so, i'm not somebody who believes that women are going to be single issue voters. they never have them, and but i do think that we have a strong story to tell when it comes to women.
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>> is the language changed? >> jessica, as you know, if i start being in the business of arbitrating, -- what i do is a practice, and so i'm going to try to lead by example in the situation as opposed to commenting on every single comment that is made by either politicians or abundance. i would be very busy. i wouldn't have time to do my job. that is your job to comment on what is said by pundits. all right. lloyd montenegro. there you go. >> mr. president, the proposal is showing that latino voters think to be stable in the reelection over a republican alternative, yet some of them are still disappointed, others are upset about the promise that he made on immigration reform that had yet to come to pass. if you are the elected, what
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would be your strategy? how would you be different to get immigration passed in congress, and especially if both houses contingent as they are right now? >> first of all just substantively, every american should want immigration reform. we've got a system that's broken. we've got a system in which you have millions of families sharing this country who are living in the shadows worried about deportation, you've got american workers that are being undercut because those undocumented workers can be hired and the minimum wage laws may not be observed, over time laws may not be observed. you've got incredibly talented people want to start businesses in this country or to work in this country, and we should want
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those folks here in the united states, but right now the legal immigration system is so tangled up that it becomes difficult for them to put down roots. so we can be a nation of laws and immigrants, and it is not just a hispanic issue, this is for everybody, an american issue that we need to fix. now, when i came into office i said i'm going to push to get this done. we didn't get it done, and the reason we haven't gotten it done is because what used to be a bipartisan agreement that we should fix this ended up becoming a partisan issue. i give a lot of credit to my predecessor, george bush, and his political advisers who said this should not just be something the democrats support the republican party is invested in this as well. that was good advice then. it would be good advice now.
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and my hope is that after this election of the latino community will have sent a strong message that they want a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform that involves making sure we've got tough border security, and this administration has done more for border security than just about anybody. that we are making sure that companies are not able to take a vantage of undocumented workers, the we've got strong laws in place, and the we have got it half so that all those folks who are often u.s. citizens who are working with us, living with us in our communities and not breaking the law and try to do the best to raise families so they have a chance to be a full
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part of our community. so, what do i think will change? we are going to be putting forward as we've done before a framework, a proposal legislation that can move the ball forward and actually get this done what. but ultimately, i can't vote for republicans. they are going to have to come to the conclusion that this is good for the country and that this is something that they themselves think is important, and depending upon how congress turns out we will see how many republican votes we need to get it done. >> nora. how are you? >> thank you. today's super tuesday so i wonder if you might weigh in on some of your potential components. mitt romney has criticized you on iran and said hope is not a
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foreign policy. he also said you are america's most tactless president since carter. what would you like to say to mr. romney? >> good luck tonight. [laughter] >> really? >> really. [laughter] since you've been hovering in you are from my hometown, make it a good one. >> my question is about the summit from chicago to camp david. a reason given from the white house is that now he wanted a more intimate summit. they would like to know what do you know now that you did not know when you booked chicago for the g8? do the security threats play? >> keep in mind we are still going to be showing up with a whole bunch of world leaders, we have the summit. basically what's happened is we
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try to attach the summit to the nato summit so that the leaders in the g8 summit don't have to travel twice to whatever location so last year in france with combined hgh with a nato summit and we will do so again. this was brought to me after the initial organizing of the nato summit. somebody pointed out that i haven't had any of my counterparts i've worked with now for three years up to camp david. g8 tends to be a more informal setting in which we talk about a wide range of issues and a pretty intimate way into the thinking is that people would enjoy being in a more casual
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backdrop. i think the weather should be good that time of year. it will give me a chance to spend time with mr. putin, the new russian president and from there we will fly to chicago. i always have confidence in chicago been able to handle security issues, whether it is in chicago or lollapalooza for the championships. we know how to deal with a crowd, and i sure that your new neyer will be quite attentive to details and making sure that everything goes off well. >> okay. go ahead, last question. >> mr. president, to continue on that, when the leaders gather in chicago in may, you expect that they will be able to agree on a transition strategy? and are you concerned at all
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that the urning and up so that has followed since then threaten your ability to negotiate? >> keep in mind that transition policy was in place and established at lisbon, and we've been following that strategy because we are turning over increasing responsibility to afghans, and a full transition so that our combat role is over by the end of 2014, and our coalition partners have agreed to it. they are sticking with it, that continues to be the plan. what we are now going to be doing over the next at this meeting and planning for the next two years is to make sure that that transition is not a cliff but there are benchmarks and steps taken along the way in the same way that we reduced our role in iraq so that it is
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gradual afghan capacity is built, the partnering with afghan security forces is effective that we are putting in place the kind of support structures that are needed in order for the overall strategy to be affected, yes, the situation burning concerns me. i think it is an indication of the challenges in that environment, and it's an indication that now is the time for us to transition. obviously the violence directed at our people was unacceptable, and president karzai acknowledged that. but what is also true is president karzai i think is eager for more responsibility on
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the afghan side. we are going to be able to find a mechanism whereby afghans understand their sovereignty is being respected and they are going to be taking a greater role in their own security. that i think is in the interest of afghans and is also in our interest, and i'm confident we can execute, but it's not going to be a smooth path. there will be bumps along the road just as there were in iraq. >> are you seeing a deterioration in the relationship on the violence that has followed that inhibits your ability to work out things like how to hand off to detention center? >> none of this stuff is easy, and it never has been. and obviously the most recent riots are protests against kuran burning or tragic but this happened a while back when the
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pastor and florida threatened to burn a kuran and iraq as we were making the transition the we are constant crises the would pop up in the tragic events the what take place and there were the occasional setbacks. but what i've tried to do is to set a course to make sure that up and down the chain of command everybody knows what our broad strategy is, and one of the incredible things about our military is that when they know what our objective is and our goal is regardless of the obstacles that the meat along the way they get the job done, and i think that president karzai understands that we are interested in a strategic partnership with the afghan people and the afghan government. we are not interested in staying there any longer than is necessary to assure that al
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qaeda is not operating there and that there is sufficient stability that doesn't end up being a free-for-all after its left, so we share interest here. will require negotiations and there will be time where things don't look as smooth as i would like. that's kind of the deal internationally on a whole range of issues, all right? thank you. can i just make one other comment? i want to publicly expressed condolences to the families. the, from new jersey, a wonderful man did great work both domestically and internationally. he was a friend of mine and so my heart goes out to his family have to his colleagues.
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at this senate hearing the commander of u.s. forces in the
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middle east said he believes the syrian president will remain in power for, quote, some time. general james mattocks said iran is the biggest threat to the united states and is working to keep the leader in power. general along with the commander of u.s. special operations spoke about the future of u.s. afghan relations with the recent violent protests there over kuran earnings. this is two and a half hours. >> good morning, everybody. this morning we continue the committee's review of the posture of the combat commanders to meet the security challenges and operational requirements in their areas of responsibility in light of the president's budget request for fiscal year 2013. our witnesses are general james mabus, commander u.s. central command commander admiral bill mccreary, commander of the u.s. special operations command. thank you both for your
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dedicated and distinguished service to the nation. also on behalf of the committee, please extend our heartfelt gratitude to the military men and women serving with you. many have served multiple of plants, often directly in harm's way. we thank him for their dedication and courage and we think their families to support us so essentials. as reflected in the president's budget request of $88 billion for overseas contingency operations in fiscal year 2013, the conflict in afghanistan remains our military is foremost security challenge. the afghanistan mission is entering a critical phase of transition. the drawdown of the 33,000 u.s. surged forces are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer and the remaining 68,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan will continue to be reduced, "at a steady pace thereafter through 2014 according to president
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obama. u.s. and coalition forces have begun to move from the combat lead to an advise and assist role in support of the afghan national security forces as the forces increasingly assumed the lead for providing security. this transition is to be completed by 2014 when afghan security forces will have assumed their security lead throughout the country. as the u.s. presence in afghanistan lines down, our special moderations forces will assume greater and greater responsibility for the afghanistan mission, and for advising and supporting the afghan security forces even after 2014. our u.s. military plans on having an ongoing presence in afghanistan to train the afghan forces to conduct counterterrorism operations and provide key enablers such as logistics airlift and intelligence support. the recent violence in
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afghanistan following the unintentional and regrettable burning of the kurans of a military base is troubling. president obama has expressed his regret and i would hope that president karzai would condemn the killing of six american soldiers as a part of that violence. while these events could weaken the level of trust between the u.s. and afghan forces, secretary panetta has reaffirmed that the united states remains committed to the current approach and afghanistan, saying that the recent attacks on our troops, quote, will not alter our commitment to get this job done. of the success of the afghanistan mission will depend on building the capability of the afghan national security forces. at the end of the day the conflict in afghanistan is an afghan war and will be up to the afghan forces to win at. there is concern by the news
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accounts that the united states is circulating within nato and to produce afghan security forces by as much as one-third. the size of the police would be reduced to three injured 52,000 personnel this year to 230,000 after 2013. of lieutenant daniel bolger the head of the nado transmission afghanistan. it's based on, quote, with the international community will provide financially and with the afghans can provide from themselves, and of quote to refine surprised and disappointed to hear commanders are focusing on afghan forces based on what they think might be affordable instead of with the number five can security forces they believe will be needed to maintain security.
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it strikes me as unwise to beasties on the future size of the afghan army and police exclusively on projections of the future of portability and stila of military requirements to secure the gains that have been made at the great cost and to prevent a taliban return to power. the sustainability of the progress and security in afghanistan will also be affected by a number of issues including the progress of reconciliation talks, but the taliban with the pakistan chooses to play a constructive role in those talks eliminating the threat from the insurgency stevens in pakistan, to establish what the long term strategic partnership between afghanistan and the united states and the karzai government efforts to improve governance, deliver services, increase government revenue, fight corruption and promote inclusive and transfer recollections. general mattis, the committee will be interested in your assessment for the process on
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afghanistan and the sustainability of security gains through 2014 and beyond. there is a strong determination on this committee and in s. con. res. to do all we can to counter the threat posed by iran, and in particular, to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. the national defense authorization act included breakthrough sanctions with respect to iran by requiring foreign financial institutions to choose between maintaining ties with the u.s. financial system or doing business with the central bank of iran especially relative to the purchase of the petroleum and related projects. president obama has appropriately focused considerable and determined diplomatic effort, "to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and he has repeatedly said that there are, quote kono options off the table to achieve that goal. general mattis has asked of conducting the prudent planning and assembling of the military options for the president
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relative to iran in case they are needed. i'm going to put most of the balance in my statement on the record except for the following. the new strategic guidance and priorities emphasize the specialty operations personnel for counterterrorism operations. capacity building and other secured the cooperation activities in support in the geographic and combatant commanders. the reports indicate that you are seeking new authorities that you believe would help to be more responsive to the geographic combatant commander's request for the special operations personnel and the capabilities that they provide. the committee looks forward to your comments on these reports and learning more about any authorities that he may be necessary that you believe may be necessary to fulfill the global missions.
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finally, general, we would appreciate your comments relative to the events and syria. as to what you believe the options might be to end the slaughter of syrian civilians by the government of syria will to end it, the question is what are the military options that might be available in case they were seized upon as being one of the ways to do that and they very much appreciate your comment in that. john, again, thanks to you and the men and women who serve with you and your great work. senator mccain. >> thank you. let me think our distinguished witnesses who are to of the most impressive military leaders currently serving our nation. we are grateful for the years of service and the lead in the u.s. central command and special
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operations command. amazing americans who carry on the fight after a decade of war. admiral mcraven, this is your first time testifying before this committee as the commander and it's fitting that you do alongside general mattis a seasoned veteran of the committee hearings to have the scars to prove it. nowhere is the work of america's special operators or persistent and an important than centcom's area of responsibility. they played an instrumental role in ongoing counterterrorism operations both in the region and around the globe. while al qaeda senior leadership has been diminished by sustained pressure against them in pakistan al qaeda's global operations are becoming increasingly decentralized and no less deadly. regional affiliate's seek safe haven in the country is beset by weak governments and internal instability, particularly in
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places like yemen, the horn of africa. this is why the ongoing efforts to build the capacity of partner nations and the troubled regions remain a vital component of our strategy to disrupt and defeat these terrorist organizations. i am concerned whether that is the administration seeks to decrease the size of our military conventional ground forces many people are already coming to see special lubber nations forces as the challenges the country faces. admiral, the special operations in the total force and what can be done to ensure that these operators are not stretched at the expense of their unique cord responsibilities. general mattis, all of us have the utmost respect for you but we do not envy you. you and our military leaders have more on our plate from
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supporting our friends in jordan and egypt, saudi arabia and the uae, keeping a watchful eye on the fragile but very different situations in bahrain, yemen and lebanon. in afghanistan is the progress of the trips making on the ground we are at a pass with the negotiation of a strategic partnership agreement. which is critical to sustain the rebels and walking into lasting success. and that a similar relationship remains fraud with a setback and lack of trust largely a rising from the fact that the country's intelligence service continues terrorist groups such as the haqqani network that are killing americans. in iraq the prime minister maliki continues to centralize power at the expense of the other political blocs while the threat posed by al qaeda for, appears to be growing along with the times of harvick spectacular
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attacks like the one we saw yesterday. the iranian regime continues working to subvert iraq in many other countries in the region. its recent attempt to assassinate the saudi ambassador in washington as well as the officials in southeast asia and the caucasus with the reckless threat. the threat that would expand exponentially if the regime would acquire the nuclear weapons capability that it clearly seeks. unfortunately the international effort to impose crippling sanctions appear to have done nothing to dissuade iran from its military nuclear pursuits. and then there's syria. after a year of bloodshed, the crisis has reached a decisive moment. it is estimated that nearly 7,500 lives have been lost. syria today is the scene of some of the worst state-sponsored violence since the balkans. botcharov al asad and the top
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lieutenants appear to be accelerating the fight to the finish, and they are doing so with full support of russia, china, and iran. a steady supply of weapons and ammunition and other assistance is running to al asad from moscow and tehran and is reported on sunday the iranian military and intelligence operatives are likely to work to support a sod. the president has been the objective of the united states that the killing and syria must stop, and that asad must go to the she's created the stability of the nation as the goal and it is the rightful. the united states has a clear national security interest in stopping the slaughter and syria and forcing assad to leave power. the end of the regime would sever the lifeline to iran could eliminate a longstanding threat to israel, bolster lebanon
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sovereignty and independence and remove the committed st speak to state-sponsored terrorism that is engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. would be a geopolitical success in the first order and the strategic defeat for the iranian regime. however, it is not clear that the present policy will be able to achieve our goals and syria. the recent testimony to this committee, the director of national intelligence stated that the status quo persists, assad could hang on for the foreseeable future, and the was before with each passing day the international response to the atrocities is being overtaken by events on the ground and syria. opposition groups in syria need most urgently is relief from the tank and artillery sieges in the many cities there still contested. but time is running out.
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assad's forces are on the march. providing military services to the civilian army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. the only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power and the time has come. air strikes would help to establish and defend safe havens in syria, especially in the north, in which opposition forces can organize and plan their political and military activities against assad. the safe havens could allow the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance, including weapons and ammunition, body armor, tactical intelligence, secure communications equipment, food and water and medical supplies. these safe havens could also help to free the syrian army and other armed groups in syria to train and organize themselves into more cohesive and effective
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military forces likely with the assistance of the foreign partners. rather than closing off the prospects for some kind of a negotiated transition that is acceptable to the opposition, military intervention is now needed to preserve this option as credible. assad needs to know that he will not win but right now unfortunately he seems to think he can win and for good reason. i'm afraid. the witness is advice about how we can change the balance of power against assad to finally end the bloodshed and the rule of syria. >> let me call on you, general. >> mr. chairman, senator mccain and members of the committee. i appreciate this opportunity to discuss u.s. central command regions to which i submitted a written statement requested to be accepted in the record.
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it's my privilege to appear before you tonight and admired leader bill mcraven no commanders worked closely together than u.s. special operations command and central command. what we didn't what i see today in the region the awakening is manifest in differently in each country while we may hope for and certainly we firmly support all efforts for more space governments in the region the origins are not necessarily a rush for democracy. rather this a weakening stems from a breakdown in the contract between the governments and their people. unjust or unresponsive regimes have fallen or are in the throes of falling as is the case and syria. it's never that easy as we see in egypt. further it isn't clear what the resulting government will look like. it's beyond the promise of the
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year of a weakening. it's to orchestrate violence worldwide as evidenced by its plot to kill the saudi ambassadors here in washington, d.c.. iran presents the most significant regional threat to stability and security. it's reckless behavior and rhetoric have created a high potential for miscalculations. while we've made security gains in the fight against terrorists this remains al qaeda and associated groups continue to kill innocents from the yemen and a hepting in the face of u.s. pressure. when we make in our enemy we are missing a our military effort for the four broad u.s. diplomatic objectives. first-come support for each country's political reform to conduct a thorough pace. second, support for the economic modernization that provides the people ownership in the future ferc. third of the renewed recognizing
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the status quo is not sustainable. finally, we stand firmly with our friends and supporting regional security, the territorial integrity of the sovereign nations and the free flow of commerce. as the commander for the u.s. central region am i overarching goal is to prevent further conflict. we seek to deter those hostile intent and should they prove unsuccessful we provide a military options to the president as our president has set our strong presence in the military and in the middle east in doors and the united states will never waver in defense of our allies and partners and interests. the military challenge will be determining how we retain a sustainable presence and operate more flexibility in a fiscally constrained environment. although we are withdrawing counterforces from the region we are not withdrawing our support for longtime allies and partners, nor are we pulling
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back our commitment from the region that too many times has taken a commitment of american blood and treasure to restore stability for the persistent military to mother terrie engagement the troops reassure our friends and timber adversary relations -- adversary intentions. the security cooperation activities such as foreign military sales, and her education, security force training and multinational exercises are cost-effective means for building our friends capabilities allowing us to operate with allies and friends in the rapid response in times of need. a sustained trend presence with a pronounced need of character supported by the troops, the special operations forces. the expeditionary army ready to demonstrate our commitment to allies underwrites the regional
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stability familiarizes our courses with the fielder and wiltz partner devotees to protect themselves all while providing timely response to crises. there are other key capabilities to protect the troops from the threat will be on afghanistan. information operations and voice programs counterreformation and recruiting on the internet. improved intelligence surveillance reconnaissance assets that enable us to locate an elusive enemy and intelligence expertise to support our deployed elements. we also need specific resources that are vital to the afghanistan campaign of funds of the emergency response programs, afghan infrastructure fun the command reintegration authority enables tooby to the humanitarian and infrastructure needs of a population that is
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increasingly secure by its own forces for the afghan security forces fund. in conclusion i appreciate the resources to provide which enable us to carry out a strategy assigned to us what we need is critical as we carry out the transition and afghanistan and continue on course to achieve our desire against by december 2014 as leader of the conference on lisbon. thanks to congressional support to the sticker prices of the military families, however forces represent america's auslin determination to stand by our friends and maintain regional stability and defense of our values and interests. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. admiral mcraven? >> good morning, journalism, ranking member mccain and distinguished members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and represent the extraordinary men and women of the united states
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special operations command. it's an honor to command the world's finest sponsor operations forces serving side by side with our broad military and interagency teammates. and i am proud to appear today with my good friend and next-door neighbor, jim mattis. admittedly though, jim is really there. but when he's there he is a great neighbor. which i will submit my written statement for the record and open with a brief remarks. this morning i'd like to provide you an overview of the role in the dressing the ongoing emergency security emerging security challenges. psychiatry panetta outlined how he viewed a future joint force. he called for low-cost, lean, technologically advanced and agile responsive innovative effective forces able to address a variety of challenges and adversaries. as i read those characteristics, i am struck at how accurately describes a special operations forces and what we bring to our nation's arsenal.
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special operations forces have had a tremendous impact on the nation's security and never more so than during the last ten years of the war since 9/11 the forces have doubled in size now at 60 and 6,000. the budget has tripled and the number of deployed has quadrupled to meet the emerging demands. however, even with that growth, or $10.4 billion budget in fiscal year 13 still comprises only 1.7% of the total department of defense budgets. simply put, remains relevant in high demand and offers an unparalleled return on the nation's investment. as we evaluate today is evolving strategic landscape, it is clear that the demand for the special operations capabilities will remain high. our near-term focus is on winning the current fight against violent extremism. first and foremost we will sustain our efforts in afghanistan and support of all i sat by continuing the application of the direct and indirect approach. the direct approach lethal and precise continues to degrade extremist leadership in the
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networks. the indirect approach which i believe offers the greatest opportunity for victory to build security in the government's through the stability operations and development of the afghan security forces. both the direct and indirect approaches continue to have daily positive impact on the strategy. our surveys and effort in afghanistan has been tremendous and we continue to make this our highest priority. in addition to the efforts and a chemist and we also strive to maintain persistent presence globally to read to the special forces are in 78 countries around the world supporting u.s. policy objectives. in the pacific, africa, latin american commander of and other regions skills, cultural knowledge and ability to work with partners creates the effect is far above our relatively small numbers. all of these international engagements are done with complete support and approval of the respective geographic combat commanders. in addition to the forces in the
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current fight i'm committed to strengthening the support to the geographic commanders by reinforcing and enabling their special operations command. as you know the special operations command are of the gcc and provide the regional commander is special operations capabilities. as the fourth provider for those capabilities, u.s. socom will insure the of the human capital, the capability and the expertise to meet the gcc requirements. another important aspect of the utility is our ability to partner with other national units. since the establishment of service special operations forces and 1960's and u.s. socom our relationship with our forces around the world have strengthened each nation and each nation's ability to deal with our own security problems. we must continue to build these relationships where ever possible. to the current fight and strengthen our support for the geographic combatant commanders we would be necessary to insure the force and their families
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remain strong. my predecessor established a task force to examine the fraying around the edges and the community. we confirm that a decade of the war coupled with a consistently high demand for soft has exerted a physical and emotional stress on the force and families. i am committed to taking care of people with the best support we can provide. i put a general officer and my command sergeant major in charge of the preservation of the force and families. they are in power to implement the solutions across the enterprise to improve the well-being of the warriors and their families. in conclusion, the commands will not end in the foreseeable future. with your strong advocacy we will continue to sustain a world-class special operations capabilities. thereby providing the nation a decisive edge in addressing the challenges that affect us today and will undoubtedly emerge tomorrow. it is an honor to appear before you today is the commander of the united states special operations command.
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you can take pride of the men and women of the special operations are accomplishing around the world each and every day. thank you for your continued support and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. we will try a seven minute round for the first round. general mattis and admiral mcraven, first let me ask you about the fiscal year 2013 budget and the administration's recently revised strategy. does the 2013 budget request reflect the recently revised strategy, general? >> yes sure it does. >> admiral? >> yes it does. >> do you support that budget request? >> i do, completely. >> absolutely. >> in the wake of the violence following the burning of korans in afghanistan including the killing of the six american soldiers, secretary leon panetta said that this violence is not going to alter our commitment to get this job done in afghanistan.
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he added that our goal is that by the end of 2014 the afghans will have the responsibility to govern and secure themselves. general, following the violence of for the koran burning incident, should we modify our strategy in afghanistan? >> no, mr. chairman, i don't believe so. i'm delighted to defend our strategy. i believe it is working. we should not allow a few criminals, malcolm tent to define the afghan security forces, even the performance during the last two weeks disciplined, restrained, standing by us is an indication that this is a force that could come along way. it's right now nearly a the 352,000 mark that we had set up. it shows that the afghans are willing to fight for their country. we wanted to be at the end of 52,000 by october. we should be there within 60 days. we are on track mr. chairman. >> how does the events that
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occurred where we have some afghans killing americans and other coalition forces and their own people, how does that strike you? is that a significant shift in any way in terms of either the afghans willing to take on the taliban or the reliability of the afghan army? >> circuitry is existed as long as there has been more fair and there's always been a few people that you couldn't trust. i'm one of those that has slept peacefully under afghan boy is guarding me back in 2001. no force is perfect. i would just remind everyone that even jesus of nazareth had one of 12 to go too much on him. my point is that no matter what selection process you use, you are going to have somebody that doesn't cut the standard in this
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case the overwhelmingly positive response by the afghan security forces, even in the face of what was a very disappointing and unintentional mistake by the u.s. forces it didn't shake their confidence, it didn't shake the teamwork. i think that right now it doesn't cause us any question about the overwhelming reliability. at the same time prudent measures taken with the full support of the afghan chain of command, unprecedented i might add, absolutely unstinting support means we are on the right track to address what is the inside threat concerned. >> thank you. according to "the wall street journal," the united states has proposed reducing the size of the afghan national security forces from the three injured 52,000 in this trinkle for this
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year to 230,000 after 2014 as a way of reducing the cost of sustaining the afghan forces. first of all what is your reaction to that? is this something that we have decided upon, and why it's so are we protecting the need for afghan troops two years in advance as the security force needs and afghanistan? >> understand your question, mr. chairman. i completely support general allan's recommendation that we hold 352,000 afghan security forces through 2015. while there can be any number of varying levels of maturity of planning and thinking going on, the conditions on the ground will have to determine the site of the force. but between now and 2015, i think sustain the gains we have made especially after 2014 when our flood been largely withdrawn other than advisers, the three
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injured 52,000 is a prudent measure. it has been made relative to that. >> i'm confident there hasn't been a decision made on that. >> some might want to change the subject to the villages devotee operations. the afghan local police units of serious abuses against the populations that their task to protect. if you have a response to that, and i really what i think ask you both because you are both free much involved in the afghan local police and the support by our special operations and general purpose forces so first, general and the afghan local police program and then i would like to ask you the same question as you know, general, that is under the governor's command they are not on their own out there.
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the of u.s. special forces as advisers living alongside them. it is interesting that during all these months of difficulty this threat to your we have had some of our troops attacked, not one of these trips looking at the very edges and small, very edges of the battlefield and small groups have been attacked. we find that those forces are ethical, we keep a close watch on them if we get any indication of unethical behavior, violent behavior, taking at this vantage of the position that investigated immediately and we keep a very close watch on it. >> admiral? >> yes, sir. as you know, general allan investigated some of these allegations of the joint investigation with the afghans and from the obligations to be false. as the general mentioned, the stability pergamon the afghan local police in particular are in fact part of the minister of the interior. so that chain of command goes
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right back to the central government and gives it some credibility for the trial level, the village level look to the central government and this is very important. there are about 11,000 afghan local police and we are growing to about 30,000 over the next couple of years and we think this is an achieving the important program for the stability of afghanistan. >> think you both very much, senator mccain. >> general mattis, has after all the sanctions have been posed on the regime, do you believe the regime has been dissuaded from pursuing a nuclear weapons capability? >> no, sir. i have not seen that. >> are there strong indications that al qaeda is making a comeback in iraq?
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>> yes, sir, notably in the western iraq. but for it is extending into baghdad. spec general mattis, the general burgess, the director of the intelligence agency testified last month the the regime and its monterey remain a, quote, viable, cohesive and effective force. the same hearing james clapper director of national the intelligence testified that absent some kind of external intervention assad will hang in there and continue to do as he has done. do you agree with general burgess and director blabber's assessments? >> assad has chosen violence. i think the military is under more pressure every day. the desertion rate is going up, but in aggregate i agree with the assessment. >> of the current conditions persist, absent externals intervention, how long do you
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think assad could remain in power? indefinitely? >> i don't think indefinitely, sir, but i would be very slow to put a time horizon on that to get i think he's going to be there for some time because i think that he will continue to employ heavier weapons. i think it will get worse before it gets better. >> recent reports of increased involvement as well as russian arms supplies may get worse. would you say that the crackdown especially in the recent events in homes is gaining or losing momentum? >> he's banning physical momentum, on the battlefield. if she's created more enemies. i think that he's creating more recent, more international pressure against him but on the tactical battlefield, he is.
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i think that syria out of the hands of assad and a chance to be free and space would be one of the greatest close to iran as far as lebanon is concerned, hezbollah, the closest ally that it would be in america's strategic interest to see assad go? >> would be the biggest setback for iran and 20 years when assad falls, not yet but when he's going to go. >> fundamentally we went to the balkans because the ethnic cleansing and genocide was taking place in bosnia and kosovo and the 1990's. do you see a difference between the kind of slaughter that's going on and syria now and the
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kind that was going on in kosovo in bosnia may be a difference in scale but in the same kind of actions being taken by the government? >> certainly each situation is unique, but as far as the trend, i would not disagree with your characterization. >> under current conditions, would simply providing arms to the opposition to be sufficient to help them end the violence and force assad to leave power? >> providing arms is perhaps an option that would be a policy option. to do our best we are providing the arms to and follow those of her first do no harm to make certain what we are doing is actually going to reduce the scale of violence are ultimately
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to get it may go up for a short time, but i think that you would have to look it very closely because the longer this goes on the more potential there is for al qaeda and a full-scale civil war. spec to you see in the evidence that al qaeda is any significant role in syria a position today? >> yes we have in terms of the rather spectacular ied attacks. >> so every time i've seen of these crises, the first answer is we don't know who these people are. >> it could be al qaeda or reject, i heard that two nisha come i heard it libya, we don't know who these people are and they are probably al qaeda. you know that flies in the face of, general? people who yearn for liberty and not being under the rule of an oppressive and a brutal dictatorship. so all of a sudden, we will
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again assume. i've just returned from a trip to egypt, tunisia and libya and there's always a threat of extremism. but there's no doubt the people that beat the revolution arnold al qaeda. they are direct repudiation of al qaeda. so frankly one grows a little weary of this. we don't know who they are and they are probably al qaeda. general, do you think we can find out who they are? >> it's always prudent to find out who your allies are and who your enemy is. >> is it prudent to stand on the side of freedom and democracy against one of the most oppressive dictators in the world. it's been is that prudent? is that the united states has been standing for for a couple hundred years at least? is that why we fought the war. so frankly i grew irritated, and i grew angry when i see and meet these people that have
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sacrificed their very lives and family in our wounded, and i visit a hospital in been gauzy where a whole shipload of wounded young men have just returned, and i didn't see a single one of them that was al qaeda, not a single one. i didn't see a single one of them that the light before my eyes that was al qaeda. so i suggest we find out who these people are coming and i guarantee you that you will find out that it's not al qaeda, it's not al qaeda, its people that have the same yearnings that are universal, and that's freedom, democracy and our god-given rights. so, i would hope we would spend some time with your unique capabilities and finding out who these people are. and i'm surprised they haven't tried to do that before. we should do it because this conflict is going to go on and a whole lot of people are going to die if we allow the status quo to prevail and the slaughter to
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continue because, quote, we don't know who they are. >> thanks, senator mccain general mattis, admiral mcraven, thanks for your leadership. to consider the records both have had and what you're doing now i don't think that we could have better people in the position that you are and and we ought to be very grateful to you for that. general mattis, i always look forward to your testimony because in some sense i feel when i read or listen to you that i'm back in the classroom because you do have a very developed sense of history and i just want to read in the context of your submitted testimony, and i quote you over 40 years of supporting u.s. forces in the central command area of responsibility i have never witnessed it so tumultuous, change is the only constant and is a price continues to be the dominant force in the region. leal transformation is under way
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across the region as a result of the arab awakening the efforts by other regional actors particularly iran to influence the outcome represents perhaps the greatest immediate and long-term threat to the regional stability. and then i'm skipping here but i quote interesting perspective we miss in all of this there's only one state and our aor actively seeking to destabilize the region and actively for violence and that is iran. it helps us put things in context. let me go back to something that senator mccain touched on but i want to ask if you can go into it in a little more detail, which is this about syria. can you describe in more detail what is the extent of both iranian and russian assistance to the military assistance to the assad government at time?
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>> if you provided very advanced integrated defense capabilities, missiles, radars, that sort of thing that would make the position of any no-fly zone challenging. if we were to go that direction. in terms of iran, they are working earnestly to keep assad in power. they've flown in experts and they are flying in weapons. it is a full-scale effort by iran to keep assad there and oppressing his own people. ..
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to try and pick up where the opposition networks are out and providing of experts who i could only say our experts in a press to your prewash school. in the habit from them into damascus to help to decide the same thing. >> okay, so generally in sympathy with the argument that senator mccain just describe. the international community, for reasons both humanitarian and strategic really just shouldn't sit back any longer and watch assad do what he is doing. because my own sentiment is i suppose eventually they will
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follow. whether such a disproportionate military power between the government and the opposition, he could really come as you suggested earlier, hang on there for a long time and the killing can go on for a long time. we actually saw this in the 90s before we finally got involved and stopped it. and i don't minimize the difficulty of getting involved to your. but i do want to say a picture answer to the last question, which i appreciate, does lead me to say this. some will say if we could involve% of our arab allies get involved where people in the european union to, for instance, provide weapons to the opposition army that we'll be militarizing the conflict. but the conflict is already militarized. one time and transcends its already militarized that ukrainians and russians are providing a lot of military support to the assad government and the opposition doesn't have
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much at all. how is the white house has to ask trio for to prepare contingency plans for assistance to the syrian opposition? >> senator, i would prefer to answer that question close during if i could, sir. >> okay, the chairman had to go to another meeting, but i hope we have the possibility to go to another hearing before this is over. anopheles hunter mccain believes that we should do this on her own. i hope you can help organize something. but i gather saudis to countries are not actually thinking about the supplying some weapons to the searing opposition. let me move to another area. this also goes to iran. i have heard reports that the reigning regime is now involved in more actively in the linux
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chickadees in other countries in the region and in a way that pose as some threat to our forces in the region. and i wanted to ask you to talk about that. beyond syrian, their theories we feel iran is beginning to threaten our forces. i would like to hear about it. >> well senator, they are fighting basically a shadow war every day. they have nuclear weapons into sudan and sending them into emm. they are trying to make inroads there by passing out on me an ordinance to various backs to yemen as they take their first steps toward some kind of a democracy in their future having come under the very good election. we see what they are doing in damascus. they recognize the link of lebanese hezbollah will be kind
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if in fact the bashar al assad false. they have never gotten along that well. theory is that the taliban if they are going to help the taliban and to some degree fighters in afghanistan. we also see their makeshift altar around the world of course break down here to washington d.c. for they attempted to kill an arab ambassador. so this is an ongoing affair. i think it is now with this regime something we sent you have to accept as part of their aspirin and we certainly take a lot of prudent steps to mean team are on force protection. but we also see them trying to find a way it can take of anything that any of these. the weakening causes the comma. i think they were pretty well robust they are. iranian revolution not been seen as an example for any of the arab nations in their awakening.
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so it is not completely successful, but at the same time, it is highly concerning. >> my time is about a. i have to ask you briefly, is all this activity and nutrition diary and evidence of disputed people including the regions really have hegemonic ambitions that they want to stretch out across the region? or can we not conclude that? >> sir, one of the reasons we are seeing the unity of the gulf cooperation council rate now and the way the arab league is banding together and becoming actually a force for initiating operations, whether it be in libya or other areas that are concerned about damascus, i think what we are seeing is the whole region is becoming aware of this sort of effort on iran's part that is causing a more unified opposition to them, almost akin to 1948 in western
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europe for nato was formed out of the soviet union and therefore says. >> soared to a sorbet significant parallel. thank you very much, senator. general brown is next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i welcome the thank you for taking time to come in. i know a senator levin actually reference the afghan local police program, which i had an opportunity and honor to serve as a soldier this summer and to let them visit the special forces and see that program at work and visit any of the villages and speak with a tribal leaders and also the soldiers they are. and to me it is a program we should have implemented from day one, the value for the dollar's incredible. the amount of cooperation between the tribal leaders and people of the villages and the special forces is on her desk.
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it has never happened like it is happening now. the check in balance when one village is actually coming to the aid of another village, when they are attacked and harassed. it is never happen and that's obviously because of the advent of a sibyl road connect in those villages and at a site important to continue at the infrastructure that region so you can get from point a to point b. and see what the other village is doing, create trade with the village and come there to be for safety and security and vice a versa. disaster observations, those types of positive act duties as a result of our involvement in afghan local police program? >> sir, absolutely yes. the afghan local police program is one component of the village stability platform or operation, which really looks at security governance and economic development in the afghan local police are part of the security aspect of the village level, linking the village to the
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district in the district of the province by province eventually to the government enriching programs working extremely well. >> thank you. >> i also had the opportunity as a result of my military duty to actually coach the detainee facility and participate in a court, so-called court to determine whether that detainee should be released. it was not the similar charger ports and other types of boards that seem to be in concert with everything i've been taught as a jag. i find it fascinating and i also sounded a little troubling, especially potentially troubling i should say because the strategic hardship agreement with the afghan government is absolutely important, something we need to get signed and implemented right away because it puts to bed the notion we're packing our bags and leaving.
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however, exposure to transfer the detainees to custody presents real concerns for me. i don't think they have the capacity at this point based on my personal observations to assume the security of these attention facilities. i thought it was one of the best run facilities i've seen ever. i've been down to gitmo. male senate district.com i was responsible and participated in getting funding for three or four prisons. is that general, your understanding and position? are you concerned about their position when he taken can handle that? >> yes, sir, we are. ambassador crocker is winning those negotiations. general alan right alongside him. i think the most important thing is we figure these out order process for figuring the man did not go into an agreement. but we want is to raid agreement. you point out what went to make sure we are not turning people
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out before the afghans are ready to take care of them and wind up with abuse or some failure in terms of how we take care of these prisoners. >> and income that is a facility. i've seen the caliber of afghan corrections officer or soldier who are demanding it. i bet you be honest with you, i.t. concerns a something with senator graham monitoring very, very closely with u.n. ambassador crocker and general alan were obviously working through. regarding iraq, i am concerned is that we are sorry the vacuum but the vacuum that's been created as you know al qaeda and iraq has carried out more attacks this year alone than it did in the entire second half of last year. do you think there is a security vacuum there now since we have left? or what? >> it is not a security vacuum, senator brown. but it is a less capable iraqi
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security forces that are capabilities they are. they are scrambling to try and fill in those gaps. we are working with a small footprint they are to help them fill in those gaps. but it is a concern for the iraqi government and a concerned for ambassador jeffrey's. >> do you think al qaeda is making a comeback in iraq? >> yes, sir. it's not significant amount threaten the government. >> what about the favoritism and the iraqi government for the majority shia political party? to think that is fueling another insurgency party endorses plan to al qaeda seems to create instability? >> is not playing into al qaeda's hands yet and i think there's been some progress backed into a political dialogue in the last couple weeks is back on the right track. so i give you an optimistic view of this that is very, very
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cautious at this point. >> regarding syria, d.c. iraqi and al qaeda are moving to syria to fight against the syrian regime? how do you think this affects our understanding of the thought proposition ? >> trying to increase the chaos because they like them gathering spaces. i will think they have a moral on their body. they are simply opportunistic. i don't think they characterize their represent for defining the opposition to his side. they would try to take advantage of it. i have no doubt it is in their genes, but they do not find the opposition to his side. >> admiral, can i just touch base. can you comment -- sometimes i feel my mouth and understood, but equally effective compositions of the guard and reserve elements so common. how do you view their role now? are they doing and how do you view the role of the future? >> sir, thank you at the gartner
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servicemen is absolutely essential to socom building their fight over the last 10 years and since the establishment of u.s. socom back in 1987 with two reserved unions for 19 and 20 special for scripts that do phenomenal work for us in afghanistan with the 193rd special operations wing, which has another unique guard and reserve assets. so we have very strongly enabled by the guard and reserve across all components, all serviced components of special operations and we expect he will continue to be well researched and years to come and play a vital role of the u.s. special operations. >> any welcome that will? >> absolutely. >> thank you, senator brown. senator reid. >> jenne men commit thank you for your extraordinary contributions also. general mattis, you stated the most significant threat in your
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region is iran. given the issue of strategic focus, or you have limited resources to keep maximum pressure on the key threat, can you comment about what it could have been if we court needed or supported or participated in syria with respect to the iranians? would this be neutral in terms of our efforts? with this disrupt international collaboration? with this collaborate and participated and advantages to the iranians? >> sir, i think if we went into providing options, whatever they are, to the father thought, as long as those are put together in a coalition international foreign, it would cause a great deal of concern and discontent
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in tehran. >> but the one area that would be problematic would be something perceived as unilateral or so dominated by the united states that this lack of international collaboration could undermine our intentions and our motives. is that true? >> i think international collaboration would be essential to the successful outcome. >> so in effect, we are working on, as we speak, pulling together the international context for efforts direct it to what many have said i think we hope the ultimate denies -- [inaudible] >> as commissary. when you take it one step further because there's discussion of establishing safe
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areas and safe haven. operationally on the ground, but the same that could be done. we seem to pose problems, first in the syrian military forces are very well organized and robust and fairly proficient. i don't know how long they would tolerate those safe events, but second, given safe haven, it would also imply that someone would have to go in and organize training and organize but really an army. that could take months if not years. are those considerations being thought through carefully and what it would mean in terms of commitment and resources? and again, deflect enough birds away from other more serious threat? >> sir, i have not been directed to new detailed planning on the
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spirit i would prefer to take some of this to senator reid and the closed session. but it would require regional or surrounding states support to do something like this. i have looked at the maps and there are no trained to limiting features where we could create the safe havens. in other words, you'd have to create them using military forces. it is not like the mountains of northern iraq, where the kurds could be in that area can saddam hussein and help in that area can stand. it would be a significant commitment of resources. of course the international aspect could reduce our commitment to fake a sufficient grandmothers. >> thank you very much. and for both of you, one of the difficult points of negotiating with the afghan aces the persistence of president karzai
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to resist operations in our forces that may come even his own forces. can you comment on how critical this is for a and is there a way to somehow ameliorate his concerns that continue to be tactically effective? >> sir, we think that maybe they're essential for a task force to go after high-value individuals. but high-value individuals we pursued during the course of a 24 a 24 hour period or days or weeks. generate that down at night. they are much more tolerable at night in fact, if you look tactically, which you find his afghans are much safer if we target an individual at night because there are so many people out and about the villages here but we done to reduce the afghan anxiety on this is the afghan special forces are in the lead on overnight operations.
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this is an important point. i notice an important point to generali and shall not this has made is that these are his forces that are in fact surrounding a particular compound, trying to call out specific individual and the forces to the door and that is the best way to reduce the afghan's concerns. but it is a critical, tactical component of what we do everyday in afghanistan. >> given a comments? >> i would emphasize, senator reid, that there is less chance of collateral damage of innocent people being killed and i think that on a cell phone but but the moral level aside from the military efficiency aspect dictates that we continue these operations so i is the enemy keeps an active force in the field. >> thank you. one of the principal assumptions going forward is that we will be able to upgrade with the afghan
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national forces, both their police forces, special forces and army forces. a small unit level, which means essentially is more groups of u.s. and nato personnel. embedded with larger unit and this is particularly something that u.s. special forces, soldiers and other operations do. the recent attacks by afghan military forces against americans was the one-on-one sort of violent. to what extent has that caused you to reevaluate that approach in that assumption? >> sir, i think as general mattis and should earlier, we have now put referred to as green and blue incidents with respect to partner relationships with special forces at the afghans. but that is not to say again as general mattis mentioned there could be treachery in the ranks
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that we are always cognizant of that. we've built these partnerships over many years. we have great respect for afghan partners and we think that this strategy of partnering with the afghans is absolutely essential to victory in afghanistan. >> general mattis, any comments? >> sir, the ama definitely defined by the tens of thousands that fight loyally alongside their casualties are routinely higher than ours, significantly higher. they are doing much of the fighting now and there is an increasing need for us to have mentors among them is the tape elite. so this will be something that will take every prudent measure at the same time it eventually comes down with the trust between young men fighting alongside each other and this is characterized by high degree of trust overwhelmingly although this tragic incident become understandably what we hear
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about. >> thank you, gentlemen. >> center a.i. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, general mattis for your service to our country. general mattis, i want to ask you about the recidivism rate from guantánamo. "the associated press" ran a story yesterday, which i believe is misleading and the headline was not so many refiners. far fewer detainees released from guantánamo bay have previously reported. however, before this committee, this is an issue that if questioned individuals about it last year. said they reengaged every from former guantánamo detainees who were confirmed or did every engaging with 27%. in fact, three weeks ago, and many again and he actually said that the reading teacher that those who had reengaged were reconfirmed her in the fight or
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suspected to be in re-engaging with increase close to 20%. and that is 27.9%. of course here the same testimony from secretary gates as well as secretary vickers at the way that we calculate the recidivism rate is not just those who overturn come overturn come of it does have suspected returning faith. one of the big issues we have of course is that it is difficult to determine who has ran gage because we are so poor once they had reengaged a reconfirming. we can't always reconfirm who is out there, who was at fighting us again and often we find when we encounter them in the battlefield or elsewhere. and so i want to ask you about, in my view, one terrorist reengaged events is too many. and the reason we attract both those who have reengaged and
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suspect it because that is they make you a more accurate reflection of where we are with reengaged that reads. two individuals i would like to ask you about, general mattis who have reengaged the site if i eat auch a hairy, our former guantánamo detainees. one became a leader in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and the other l.a. during the talent and afghanistan. hope that these former gitmo detainees have been actively involved against us and our allies. can you update on the status that these former illustrious guantánamo detainees and what types of activities they are engaging in against us and our allies? >> yes, thank you, senator. he is the number two man and a idea and the arabian peninsula in yemen. he is their number two military commander right now. he's engaged and active operations that we can't or not.
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i'm stuck here, he is in afghanistan and again engaged. i can get to that more specifics on what we picked up in a class by sending. not today, but i can get back to you. >> i look forward to having more detail, but just to put it in kids, both of these individuals are engaged in a dvds to kill americans or allies. are they not? >> that is correct, senator. >> so i cannot imagine how frustrating it must be obviously for our troops to re-encounters someone we have time already in detention. so one of the concerns i have had is what do we do with tamara we recapture them in terms of where do we detain them to interrogate them? and admiral craven county testified before the committee last year that for example, we
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could hold them in afghanistan, we need to place a long-term detention facility that that would be hopeful. can you help me, both of you, where we are in that and what we do for capture to two individuals we talked about tomorrow in terms of interrogating them. where we hold them under the law of war? have resolve this problem? have we moved forward on that? >> senator, i'm confident we be able to hold them. each cases looked at individually so i cannot tell you in advance for how we would do it. but if they are listening, i suggest they don't sleep well at night because we are after them. we will hang onto them to forget them. i am not quite certain where we'll put them, but we will interrogate them if they are alive and we will do our best
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not to see them on the battlefield. >> but we do not have a designated facility because we are not taking anyone else in guantánamo as far as i understand pursuant to the administration policy. >> there is not a designated facility, no, ma'am. >> one of the concerns i had this we certainly can't hold everyone on a ship, particularly for hold them in long-term detention. richard correct me on the principle? >> yes, ma'am. >> so it is not clear where we put them up to capture them tomorrow? >> no, man. we've captured, as you know, some people and we have been able to facilitate their transferred to a detention facility. >> book, i would hope that we would not bring those two individuals to the united states of america. because i would have a hard time explaining that to my constituents when we had the availability of the one time a
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detention facility and that would be an option given how dangerous this individual fire. to think that's a good option bringing them to the united states? >> that is a policy decision, man. it is certainly an option for the president to consider. >> well, why wouldn't we just use the facility that is secure guantánamo? >> yes, ma'am. i'm probably not the right person to ask that question. it is a policy decision and made the reservations as ours where we put them. >> admiral, is there anything you'd like to add on that? >> man, in the case al-zawahiri, if they are captured in afghanistan respectively, we have agreement with boat the yemenis and afghans that they could be held in a country of origin. so right now for those two individuals, that would be the likely solutions.
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>> add earl, i wanted to follow up when you were before the committee last year for your confirmation, asking you about al-zawahiri and if we caught them tonight in pakistan, we would replace them for long-term detention? last year you said you weren't sure what we do in that circumstance. has anything changed since then? >> no, ma'am, nothing has changed. >> certainly we couldn't put him in afghanistan or take individuals who we've captured outside of afghanistan, for example, in pakistan or bring them to afghanistan for detention? >> baltasar pratt is now is not to do that. that is correct. it would take a government to government agreement to do something like that. >> where we have existing issues and resolve the afghans are the secure way to do with detainees they have now.
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so thank you, both of you. >> thank you. next to senator nelson. >> thank you, senator nelson. let me at my appreciation for your services. i've got a number of concerns about our presence in iraq at the current time. i don't think i have a clear understanding of what our mission as they are. it is further complicated by the fact that we have got questions about the new embassy, which is of significant in of size, building with significant number of security contract tours, located they are, perhaps not even functioning in the security rule outside of the embassy. and the embassy continues to be expanded and i understand perhaps state department now is
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in charge of establishing what our mission in iraq is. can easier if you help enlightening about what our mission truly is in iraq today and how that might relate as well to the providing of security by contract errors in the continuing expansion of a building that seems to be gargantuan in size already? general mattis. >> as far as our mission in iraq, it is going for the military led effort in iraq over the last eight years to state department led mission under the ambassador. i do have a lieutenant general with a small footprint on the ground, part of the office of security cooperation in iraq and they are engaged in everything from the sale of certain military equipment providing contract or the training to
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organizing the iraqis who want to go to military schools in the united states. we maintain those relationships. that is what they're doing. as far as security contractors who actually protect the embassy, those come under the state department, but having been there recently, they are simply doing that guard duty you except in the high area. and as far as the size of the building, senator, i am not confident to respond on that question, sir. >> that it is big, isn't it? >> it is big. >> trained to understand the rule of the contractors there in preventing security, and other embassies and other countries, do we require ourselves to provide security, or do we let to the host nation to provide security?
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>> sure, the host nation provides the external security outside the grounds come inside the grounds of sovereign territory and we do that. we do is generally contract card. many of them are long serving guard. inside the embassy building and its tokyo marine security guards. >> is that the way they work in iraq and baghdad? >> yes, sir. it is. >> iraq is provide external security? >> they do, sir. >> of our personnel are moving from one place to another, who provides the security? >> that security is provided by our own contract guards. >> what level of security for the iraqis provide externally to the embassy? >> in that zone if you go there, sir, you see check points are set up some blocks away. they have patrols that go by. it's not just for embassy.
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it's other embassies in town as well as they provide the diplomatic security that is expected around the world here washington d.c. some policemen provided because the threat is very low. in a place like baghdad, prudent measures require iraqi army, iraqi police to do the external security and a much more visual, obvious way. >> turning back to iran, as we all know the threat in iran is 30, you have discussed the relationship of iran to syria, to hezbollah, on 60 minutes, secretary pineda said there was a red line for us. and i know in the discussions between mr. knight and yahoo! and the president in the last
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several days, there seems to be some closing of the gap on our different ideas about dealing with iran and the growing concern. but actions, military or otherwise should we be considering in connection with air and? i don't mean to picture that classified efficient, but just generally, could you give us your idea? >> yes, sir. the iranian threat is basically along four lines. there is this nuclear program, where they are enriching more uranium than a need for any peaceful purpose and not one through denial and deception, they are tried to keep that program going. the iata has tried its best to monitor it. they have done fortunes of the there recently. the second thread is the a long-range rocket and ballistic missile threat. that one has the attention off of our friends in the region as
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far as how they protect against that. the third thread is the maritime threat and so we are going to have to be prepared to keep the ceiling felt than in the forest at is what we call the cut scores, and the way has come the secret service, surrogates, proxies, lebanese, hezbollah and other terrorist that they fund and on that one it's largely police and intelligence driven effort as we try to contain that, but also our special forces work that issue very, very closely. so for the sake guys and we look to how we can check each one of those working alongside some of the most enduring long-term partnerships we've had inside the countries out there. >> since this is a budget hearing, in your opinion does the current budget proposal deal sufficiently with the kinds of threats and responses that we are now providing to those
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threats? >> it absolutely does, senator nelson. i can say this though because i'm first among equals when it comes to the combatant commanders. basically if i need something i go to secretary pineda and i get it. so i'll just tell you that i was resourced. >> admiral raven, from your kids. >> sir, i'm also extremely low resource. >> you don't think that the budget was prepared under different assumptions and the circumstances have not changed with regard to that? >> no, sir. >> general quiet >> will always have to adapt, but right now the strategy is well supported by the budget. >> if circumstances were to change to where military action was required to be having change circumstances then as well? >> senator, active operations
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along those lines would be very expensive. obviously that's one of the cared or sticks of work. redoing everything we can to deter war to keep the stability of the peace or what passes for peace one more year, when vermont, one more week, one more day blowout secretary clinton and the diplomats to convince iran this is not the best interest to go the way they're going now. >> one might question if i might. what that applies to any engagement that we might have been syria as well? very expensive, probably not provided for in the budget. >> i'm absolutely certain it would apply, sir. >> at pearl. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, general. >> thank you, general nelson. >> general mattis make raven, thank you for your service to our country.
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i want to focus a little bit on iran not surprisingly in light of your testimony, general mattis, where you say that their reckless behavior and bellicose rhetoric would create a high potential for miscalculation in the region and in another area of your testimony come the status perhaps -- represents the medium and long-term threat to regional stability. i wonder if you would agree with the care or station of the think tank in washington, the center for strategic adjustments when they find iran strategy as access and anti-denial. and designed to take advantage of the unique geographic amateur boots of the persian gulf, rather than confront you if u.s. forces generally directly iran
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could attempt to use ballistic missiles, terrorist proxies to chorus call states and tonight u.s. forces permission to operate from the sovereign territory. without going on to describe that further, i wonder if you would agree with the characterization of iran strategy or if you have a different way you would characterize that? >> senator, i would agree that any access denial is they are modus operandi as they look towards active operations when it comes to that. note also that but the tooth as the outline, i would add the ballistic missile long-range rocket capability they have. >> if the united states had a reliable source of oil from a from a source, would we be as concerned about iran's threat to block the street of form this? >> i believe we would be,
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senator, because that those vital interest to the economy, which would have immediate and significant impact on our own way of life if one nation, iran, the only nation that threatened to close the strait. >> and just to list the areas in the middle east worker and how is the very clear fingerprint, i think it is helpful to remind ourselves from time to time just how they operate in lebanon after hezbollah, a terrorist organization in the west bank and gaza. we know that iran has reportedly received funding for hamas i should say has received funding from iran. we know of course in iraq that iran was the source of many of the explosively formed penetrators that killed united states servicemen and of course
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in afghanistan and now inferior. is there any other place that i've left off the list that iran's fingerprints are most obvious? >> absolutely commissary. i would add again and. i would add that prior to get involved in the internal aspects in bahrain but the shaking out they are of the opposition to the government to engage in non-opposition. we believe iran is probably trying to undercut that because they would not want to see those elements get together and come up with the bahraini solution. in kuwait they have had their spies captured. they've gone all over the place, sir. i would add in gaza, however, hamas pulling out on a side, i
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don't know what the effect is going to be on iran continuing to fund them since they had just pulled up support from assad when obviously tehran wanted them to continue supporting assad. so we have to watch and see what happens there. >> what you think that iran's reaction with the if there was a coalition of forces that intervene in syria to stop the bloodshed they are in the assad regime? would they sit quietly on the sidelines? >> no, sir. they tried to their proxies and surrogate to do some. i don't think anything of her. we try to keep their fingerprints off, especially seeing it would get them cross wired with an international organization and coalition of some kind. >> and do you have alluded to a
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kodak committee as opportunistic in the region. and part of there are two videos to create such tyranny and strife and conflict. but it strikes me qaeda is a nonstate at her, that its goals share a lot in common with that of air and in terms of creating instability and conflict in the region, which then provides space for them to grow in power and influence. do you agree with that? or do you have a different view? >> coming from two different directions obviously the al qaeda with prefer to see she is killed as they are doing in iraq, killing innocent she is fair. i ran on the other hand had tension between sunni and shia from a shia give and frankly i do not know what the advantage
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they see occurring to themselves, but to your point they are both doing the same thing. they just come from a different direction on that. >> admiral mcraven, giovanni views on that? been a general, i think that is capturing as well. >> i guess the challenge the united states has is that israel has said they will do whatever they need to do in a national self-interest to prevent iran from gaining a nuclear capability that would threaten their existence. secretary pineda has said that gaining a nuclear capability would be a red line that iran would not be able to cross the president of the united states said yesterday his policy was not one of containment. it was to stop iran. i am wondering where on this continua. you have talked eloquently about delay for a day or week or
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month, but having said that i think senator mccain did nothing that we have attempted so far by way sanctions has appeared to deter iran on this pathway towards a nuclear weapon. where d.c. is headed? >> sera, i.e. to speculate on some pain because in public i cannot give any -- i cannot make any casual statement. however, iran is obviously missed several opportunities to engage positively with the iaea to respond to the united nations. security council resolution are very much a problem and i do not see this going in the right direction until the full effect of the sanctions can accrue. and i say until because even now
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as we see inflation going up, unemployment going up, the internal frictions have got to start telling here. at some point i think the rainy people were questioned, is this the right direction? so if we can keep this in a diplomatic, economic track and get full advantage of what the sanctions are doing an international isolation is doing, it is to basically? any significant strategic allies. there is sun was blocked for own reasons resolutions in the united nations regrettably. i do not see them having allies. i don't count that little fella and venezuela as a significant ally. >> and effective include on this, mr. chairman. it sounds like we have a race, went to see a sanction for a successful in causing the regime to implode ms deny their aspirations for nuclear weapons.
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but if that doesn't occur fast enough, there is another parallel track where they are in a pathway to a chaired a nuclear gateway in the question is for us for who is going to win that race. sanctions are nuclear weapons. >> yes, sir. i am not sure that iran needs to implode. i think they can come to realization that the organization that they are running, they are not free and fair elections. this leadership is not what those people deserve and at some point they would say they want to stop this program is somehow those voices would be heard in a way that convinced them that this -- they had -- the best he can do otherwise is to lay down. only the iranian people can stop this program.
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>> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman shared with you, general mattis, but also this extends to admiral mcraven as well. if you look at these two gentlemen's records of service and the military ultimate reward of competent leadership is demand. if you look at the number of times the command shows up on both of these leaders military bio, there is country and no two better people we have in the position you're in and you have made things for the contributions you are making on behalf of our country. i would like to clarify some man as a result of the discussion that has occurred during this hearing. i do not think it is accurate for those who are pushing for a
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faster pace move towards military involvement in syria to characterize those, including myself, who have been asking for us to be very careful in terms of how we define the opposition movements as simply some reductionist statement about al qaeda. i put the question to general dempsey, put it to director of intelligence clap your. my concern that the really move forward in a careful way to define how much of this opposition is domestic? how much of it is regional and indeed whether or not al qaeda has been a player in that. and i think this is, in all the situations we've seen over the last year, is really important to stay on an examination of those realities as general
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mattis, as you pointed out in your opening statement, a good deal of what is going on for lack of a better term, the rupture of a social contract such as that was in this region and again as you said, it's not predictable. there's going to be democratic movement or democratic results in some of these countries. in fact, the implications of what has been happening are going to play out over years. or just not going to see quick resolution in a way that we can see that democracy is something else. so it is very important to be careful in terms of what sort of military assistance would take place if you were to take place and with whom. and i think i'm that today and i am glad that i am. one of the pieces that i think
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is missing from this discussion, not just here, but in other hearings is how we should be approaching china and what we should be expect and i'm asking from china in terms of asking for their assistance in an creasing stability in the entire region. i think this is a good opportunity to get some feed back from you, general mattis on this. we've been talking about iran and russia. there is a resolution proposal at the foreign relations committee that originally did not mention china's purchase of patient. the veto in the security council resolution proposed security council who resolution in the united nations. in the region, where you think should be expecting more out of china in terms of stepping forward to attend to resolve some of these issues.
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pakistan calls them the most important trend. we've got the sanctions that we have been attempting to move on iran that we are not seeing clear assistance they are with respect to the situation in syria. i've been asking, why would china not support the type of resolution for the security council? well, let's be honest here. this is a system of government that has not been afraid to repress his own people. probably the most valeri an example of a repressive regime that survived over the past 22, 23 years since the chinese regime has sent tanks and troops in its own people at tiananmen square in 1989. we hope that their system has evolved beyond that by now, but perhaps that is the plan to these situations. so general, can you give us an example of what it has been like
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to interact with the chinese in the region and what's your response in the region and what's your response counterparts the efforts, what's your response counterparts the efforts, there's a collaborative effort of the low tactical level, shift commander to ship commander, no problems between us out there on the station. i noticed on iran that china did come out with a rather strong statement that i ran getting a nuclear weapon was not their interest and they did not support that effort. so i do not have very much contact with the chinese in my region. very, very limited. i would suggest it is probably more the foreign relations state department realm, pretty absent as far as build a mill. >> i would venture that in terms of cooperation on anti-piracy,
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there is a clear benefit, even on a tactical level to the chinese because now they operate the navy and air if they before. we welcome collaborative efforts, but i don't think we should look at that as some statement of national intent here. and i just hope and i know this is principally a diplomat questioned, but it hoped we might be able to pursue ways to encourage china to help us resolve these larger issues, whether as korea, burma, particularly in this region where they clearly have geographic reasons and strategic reasons to be further evolved, even a place like afghanistan where they started moving economically. the wait to hear more from china. >> admiral, but they maintain is going to run out.
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i have a question. i would just like in a general sense to hear your policy with respect to officers who handle classified information that night, even on a temporary basis, end up in the hands of foreign nationals. is there a policy? >> yes, sir. absolutely. and on the transfer is classified information, you know, without the approval of the u.s. government but trust us comes up under the uniform code. >> negligence. >> and same thing, sir. >> thank you, sir. >> senator mccaskill, i really apologize. i think senator bloom in all >> a senator mccaskill has another commitment, i'd be
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happy -- thank you. >> thank you. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to add my thanks to both of you and the men and women under the leadership for your relaxed with her service, which i have the privilege to see a bit of firsthand during my second trip to afghanistan with senator graham and others in my colleague. nothing mentioned to you, admiral mcrae then, i was particularly impressed by the really remarkable achievements of our special operators they are. the numbers tell a powerful story, but so do circuit of organic dodo information, particularly about turned over a lot of the work in training and the afghans themselves, which is an unprecedented achievement in our military history, in terms of special operations. and i hope that we all keep
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sight of that work can also general, the work that all of our men and women there are doing, despite the incidents that may sometimes cloud the clear picture that we should have been the appreciation that we should always maintain that the service and sacrifice in the achievements, our real success they are. ..
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partner unit and these are the forces that predominantly due to direct action rates direct action rates we also have hour with a number of afghan forces as well, so across the soft spectrum a few well it is all about the partnership and it is all about the afghans leading in that partnership and our progress certainly over the last year has accelerated dramatically and i'm very pleased with the glide slope that we are on right now. >> one of a in pediments i think two understanding generally the american public about how successful we've been, not just in the targeting and taking out those elements of the al qaeda
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and taliban leadership but also with a very small number of civilian casualties that have occurred, and i know these numbers -- i was told they were classified, but they are impressive so i would put a pitch to you that if we can declassify some of this information is what i think enhance the appreciation and understanding in the american public in general and i want to move to a topic that has concerned me for a long time, the ied, the continued flow of the ied bomb making materials from pakistan which is the source of the predominant part of the components that go into the roadside bombs and of course the roadside bombs calls a majority of casualty injuries and deaths to our troops. we had testimony recently from
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director clapper, the director of national intelligence and from the lieutenant-general burgess and director clapper very specifically said his view is they are not making a significant effort to stop the bomb making components. i wondered if you have anything on that topic. >> senator, it has been an area of frustration. it has been a serious topic of dialogue three they have passed the law now that will enable them to make arrests that they could not make before in this regard. they've also put together their counter ied strategy here in the last few months, and i need to get back into pakistan and talk with them more about it. there is reason for more optimism today than if i were testifying last year, but i need
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to do more homework before i can give you a complete answer. at the same time, pakistan has you know, it's called the federal administered tribal area for a reason of the north. it's a very unique status that it's had since pakistan became the country come and their little sovereignty over everything that goes on there has also been at times nebulous. so there are a number of factors that come to bear, and i hope to give you a better report on this in a month or two or three at most about where i think we are seeing real progress or not. >> i appreciate your care and caution and commenting on the work that the afghans are and most briefly the pakistani forces are doing in this area my view is they have not yet made a significant effort to stop the flow of ammonium calcium,
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nitrate and other bomb making components based on everything that i have seen and heard, so i would appreciate any additional update you can give me at inappropriate time, and in the time i have left to turn to a subject that really concerns all of our men and women in uniform, the proposals for the changes in the retirement and health care systems media in particular, general mattis and admiral mcraven work with some of the most dedicated career professionals in our military, and i am greatly concerned by the potential impact of some of the proposals on the ability of our military to attract the quality of people and they are people of truly extraordinary quality as you know better than
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i, but i've been very powerful the impressed by the kind of people we are tracking. could you give me any concerns you have about these proposals and the ability of our military forces to attract and keep the kind of professionals we have now? >> i guess i will start on this and then turn over to general mattis. but we see right now our recruiting goals in terms of special operations forces up from previous years, and i think if you pull a lot of those young men and women coming in, they probably wouldn't cite the health care and the retirement benefits as the reason that they are joining. however, it could three will be the reason that they stay after a certain point in time and so i think as we move forward, we need to do some very, you know, prudent and careful looking at the retirement and health care
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system so that we keep those experienced and commissioned officers and officers in and in particular, take care of them for the service that they have rendered over the life of their career. >> senator, i would agree with admiral mcraven, very few have been on the recruiting duty, very few come in and ask about the health benefits unless they are quite old and in the marine with them and as you know. on retention it's something we've looked at very carefully. the point i make to the soldiers come sere sailors, marines in the field when asked about it is you will still have one of the best retirement systems, no matter what, because i'm confident that the secretary of defense and the chairman will only bring forward those proposals that keep us able to attract more high-quality young men and women who look beyond the political rhetoric that goes on every day to sign this
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country, so i optimistic that we will find the right way on this. >> thank you. again, i think it is so profoundly important that we find the right way for word because our greatest asset is the people, the men and women who serve and sacrifice as much as we may talk about the hard work and the weapons systems all the rest are the greatest assets. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, senator blumenthal patience is once again. >> correct me if i'm wrong but the last time i checked the gdp was out of afghanistan are of 2 billion the gdp is around 16 billion. does that sound about right, general? >> i'm not, i would hate to say it's right, but it sounds about right, by the way, thank you both for all of your service and
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your leadership. i would say repeatedly i am supportive of what we are trying to do in afghanistan but i have become increasingly skeptical about the infrastructure projects that we are spending money on, and i have followed from my first days on the committee. i've watched have success and frankly one of the things i've noticed is that while everyone thinks the idea is good, we have yet to have an objective study the value of a lot of the money come and now we have for the first time lamb colin the son of serb which is the a chemist and infrastructure project which is part state money and part dod money which not unprecedented it is very unusual for our military to be building major
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infrastructure while we are engaged in a fight on the ground. there's a reason for that in history because it typically the military would say the security needs are a problem, sustained is a problem, and it seems like we have blown over the considerations we have engaged in some of this infrastructure building and i can give you anecdotally disasters in iraq, and i am trying to compile all of the infrastructure we built in iraq and with the status is today but i think everyone knows it is not a pretty picture how much got blown up, how much was better utilize, how much was the date of its crumbling, and that's all an incredible lunch of resources and our country that we have invested, which brings me to the request for fy 134 server and ais, the funds
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paid with the new infrastructure friend dod has requested are the power projects, transportation ka projects. according to the briefing my office has received, you will finish these projects with fy 12 mauney. but yet here you are, and by the way, they are not going to be finished some of them until 2014. just the position is what we are envisioning in terms of drawing down. now we've got requests for 2013 and my question would be what are those for? what is the almost billion dollars we are requesting and syrup and ais what are we going to build beyond the ones that the money is going to finish, and how many years for what are we going to be working on those and how many contractors will we leave on the ground as we try to
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manage our transition out of afghanistan, and then i will get the sustainment. >> senator, i need to go back and take part of that for the record so what i give you is actually accurate we would not disagree that we have had significant problems in the midst of a war trying to do something you point out we have not done before. however, we have also gone through a rigorous scrubbed year by year to try to reduce it, what is actually necessary, not what is good to have, what is salinas azeri to the counterinsurgency campaign. it's a different kind of war that the fight today. the enemy has identified our strengths and has decided to fight us in a way that does not lend itself to less using our strengths, our mechanized divisions, our aircraft carriers as the tools to win. they are enablers but we have to reach the people come and the
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reason we are in afghanistan of course and i know that you supported us over the years on this is to keep it from becoming again a terrorist safe haven for a tax on us and part of what you're trying to do is take this society the was turned upside down 30 years ago and bring it back into a we forward that provides the most basic services. we are not talking about things that perhaps at one time some more idealistic people were coming in with a much broader idea about what we could do. so let me get back to you on the the major projects are and i will give it to you in great detail. i will tell you that the afghan infrastructure fund was an attempt to break out the serbs to give more fidelity to you for your oversight, and i have no reservations about providing this and if you can't stand the scrutiny the you get it, then we will change it. >> i ever stand.
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i do think part of this, and maybe i am being a little cynical, but i think part of this happens is the major infrastructure, very hard to get the funds in the state department budget and generally congress is easier to get the fund because that is typically who has done this as you well know. and speaking of sustained we have got big projects that were funded through the state that have not been sustained even in afghanistan and particularly as you look at the power plant, you look at the power plant and it is hundreds of millions of dollars and it's sitting there ogle for most of the time used for overload situation is, they're still buying electricity from the stands and i don't think the of the capacity or the resources to operate what was billed for them and that brings me to sustainment. on the highway funds i looked at some of the materials that you provided my office and don't stand on the roads right now we've got hundreds of millions of dollars we are putting into
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the road and bridge projects rich by the way as an aside i will say we desperately need in this country and they are not going to get blown up while we build them and we want to pay off the bad guys to create the security in order to build them. there is no revenue in place right now to maintain our support the roads after we leave. in fact it isn't even a government road of already to focus on an african operation. now, there is talk in the briefing that we've received that well, we think that they could. why aren't we have requiring that at least the government of afghanistan -- tooby has a lot more credibility that somehow the government is delivering the services which ultimately is a theory that we are trying to make the afghanistan government look like it is a real government to the people of the afghanistan so they like them better than the taliban. why are we requiring that the government do that first? that the government provide some kind of laughed taxes or some kind of revenue that would
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maintain these roads or at least a government wide authority that will allow them to operate in systems of roads and bridges and afghanistan before we put hundreds of millions of dollars of american taxpayers' money into these projects. >> senator, those are very good questions. i won't tell you i have all the answers, but we are consistent with your view right now in everything we are doing. if they cannot sustain that, we are not going to build it, and it cannot be sustained by the afghans, and other words, we are not talking about us providing the sustainment, and it's going to be part of the program, but i think, too, we have to remember where we started. and even finding educated people, there isn't a big binge of people that we draw from. to win simply outlining the problem that we owe you a solution, and i will get back to you with more specifics about
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the way ahead. >> i don't want anyone to misinterpret my willingness to pull some of this money out and put it in the highway trust fund in this country has not supporting what our military is trying to do. but, you know, as we are transitioning out, it is almost like the views are not matching appear to be that we are continuing. and you know the problem is, general, honestly? we can do this stuff. afghanistan can't. and so our military, let me give you all credit as leaders of an amazing organization. you tell the people under you the we want to do something, you know what, they are going to do it. and so we can build these roads, we can build the power grids and contract and to all this and it is a can-do attitude that is part of our culture that i think sometimes there is a sense of denial about not whether or not we can do it but how this ends up at the end, and i want to
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tell you i believe with every intellectual capacity that i have come that this is not going to end up well on these infrastructure projects, it's not going to be a good ending. they are not going to be roads and bridges and cars and the afghanistan government is not going to have a good handle on this especially in light of the time that he will face enormous drawing down. so i want these things to match up and i want it to be realistic and i do think this part of the strategy needs even more examination because, you know, listen to the prime minister netanyahu talk about walking like a duck and clacking like a dhaka and looking like a duck and it being a dhaka last night. this looks like nation-building in every essence of the word. and i think there is more nation-building here and there is claimed and that is my body is a point but i'm willing to be talked out of it with a good objective three-point. >> let me try, senator if i can and then we have to change something.
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>> thanks, general, and admiral. >> i will call on senator hagen. i looked around to see why could call on the they guess it's just you. last but not least expect general mattis and admiral mcraven, thanks so much for your testimony today and for your service to the country. i agree with senator mccaskill we do have a can-do attitude, and we can do great things and i really do appreciate it. and admiral mcraven, thank you for coming by yesterday. i want to go over a question that we talked about, and several public reports indicated that you are seeking several new authorities to give you more control over the deployment and utilization of the special operations forces for example "the new york times" recently reported that you want authority to deploy the special operations forces without going to through the traditional generation process managed by the joint
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chiefs and as i said, i know we've discussed this but if you could also go over it again are you seeking authorities that would provide you with additional control over the deployment and utilization of the special law operations forces cracks >> thank you, senator. first i appreciate question and the opportunity to set the record straight to it as you said there's been a lot in the news about this lately. every two years the joint staff goes through a staffing natural to look at the invite plan which is defined the roles and responsibilities of the missions of the combatant commanders and every year we go through a review of the forces which talks about the assignment of the forces through those. what we have done is we are participating in the staffing process and right now it is an internal process. my recommendations have not even gotten to the chairmen much less the secretary or the commander in chief yet, so i think it is premature to talk about what my recommendations are in an open
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forum. however, having said that, what i would like to set the record straight is that we will never deeply forces to a geographic combatant command without a geographic combatant command approval we never go into another country without getting the country clearance from the chief of mission and the chief of mission always has a vote on whether or not u.s. forces arrived in the nation that he or she is sitting in. so there is nothing in my recommendations now nor will there ever be that talks about the venues and the combatant commander were chief of mission. >> i think it's important to set the record straight. thank you. >> and then general mattis, the jordanians and the turks share the longest border with syria and the stand to bear the brunt of any refugee flows out of syria and senior officials from both governments have publicly stated that the president must go and they've indicated a willingness to receive them fleeing from the conflict but
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there's been little discussion about what the jordanians and the turks are willing to do to support an era of the western effort to aid the opposition and serious. what is your understanding of the jordanian and the turkish views of the situation in syriac and with the support the provision of the nonlethal and or legal assistance to the syrian opposition to respect thanks, senator. i don't want to speak for them. i will give you my view. i don't think they want to see if the opposition arms right now they want to know who it is they are arming, but again, i don't want to speak for them. i think that the refugee flow will be great stabilizing in either country, but especially so in jordan if they came in because of the internal dynamics and the country there and our inability to get the middle east peace process wheat reenergize
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that it might give some view of a palestinian state that would take some of the pressure off the country and leave only the refugees for them to consider. as it stands now i don't think they want the refugees inside jordan. i think they want to set up the camps inside of southern syria and help them there. and i know that the king would do that. >> is their anything like that going on? >> there are humanitarian efforts under the red cross, the red crescent, certainly both governments are looking into words what they can do for the refugees, yes, ma'am. >> thank you. admiral, concerns have been raised and passed that the heavy concentration of the special operations forces in the area responsibility is degrading the cultural and language expertise of special operations personal who have been traditionally focused on other parts of the world, and you told the
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committee last year that one of the command's top challenges is to better understand the people and conditions in the places that we go. how are you addressing the tension between the demand for special operations forces and centcom and the need to maintain aligned expertise elsewhere. it's a big world. >> yes, ma'am, it is. as i mentioned earlier today we are above 78 countries globally. so, as we develop our particularly our special forces, u.s. special forces, part of their career path is to get language and cultural training. as you know in fort bragg of this is the center of excellence in terms of our throughput for those officers. so, right now we have a pretty robust program that looks across the globe if you will at our cultural and language requirements. the issue as general mattis
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those is 80% of the forces are in centcom. having said that, that doesn't diminish the effort we're putting into the cultural treynor language and with respect to the other folks deployed globally. it will be a function of balancing and probably reemphasizing some languages and some cultures as we move from a centric environment to a more globally balanced environment over time. >> thank you to read from time to time there are the reports of the high iranian support to the northern yemen. given the ongoing source by al qaeda and the arabian of peninsula as a matter of the involvement in yemen had been getting less press. general mattis, can you update me on the activities in the north yemen and are they continuing to provide material support? >> they are providing material support compared to last year this time they are providing
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more to include weapons, not just money, but interestingly, they are also trying to influence now to try avis and invite their political leadership to tehran on expense paid vacations basically to meet with certain leaders. so it's very interesting what you and i have seen over the years is now expanding in yemen. frankly i think tehran sees a lebanese hezbollah kind of model fervor they want to go down there to be a speck of the raise concerns with you about the involvement in yen? >> yes, ma'am still get what is your assessment of the new government? or the interested in continuing to cooperate on counterterrorism? >> i believe they are, yes. >> what is the current status of the security assistance programs with respect to yemen particularly the assistance program authorized under the most recent defense authorization bill.
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>> as you know, man, the long delay in leading basically the real some of our programs during the internal frictions that were going on. we didn't want our people engaged in what was really something they had to sort out on their own so we are going to have to get his organization now and start working this forward again that we have taken a little bit frankly and what we were doing, not across-the-board cannot in all areas, and i can speak more in private with you on some of that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you come senator hagen. cementer shaheen? bixby for mr. chairman, general mattis, admiral mcraven, thank you for being her this morning and for your service to the country. general mattis, i'd like to begin asking you about what's happening with pakistan. i had the opportunity to travel
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in august with sharon levin to afghanistan and to see first hand what was happening at that time in afghanistan, and one of the things we did was flying over the past, and it was surprising to me because i hadn't been there before to see just the extent of trucks and vehicles and people lined up to cross at the khyber pass, and obviously that was before the decision to close the pass in november, and i wondered if you can talk about when pretended will be to reopen the khyber pass. last week general frazier said that being able to get through would be important if we are going to withdraw personnel and
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equipment on the timetable that's been proposed. can you talk about where we are into negotiating of reopening the path and how important will be? >> is sam -- yes, senator, i can. it is important to us. we've proven that we can sustain the campaign to the northern distribution effort and what we call multi modal which is part by year in part by sea supply the effort and there. we withdraw out of afghanistan we need the grout wind as a part of the status of the discussion on will fly to pakistan here in about ten days and we will reopen the discussion. i think the parliamentary process as far as the new relationship with the united states will be reported out by that point, and i think there the military will be able to engage with us. they've been waiting for the parliamentary
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